THE SHIPOWNER AND MERCHANT 9 In support of this pressure, which may at first sight appear arbitrary, it may be stated that since the ship- owner operates a service of good vessels with regularity irrespective of good or bad trade, if a vessel of an opposi- tion owner is placed in competition at a lower rate of freight to secure occasional business, he should not suffer by this casual opposition in order that the shipper may sometimes be a few shillings better off. Whilst the shipping conferences set rates and compile tariffs for the trades in which they deal, they are always willing to consider the case when a rate may appear to be strangling the endeavours of a merchant in securing busi- ness in a foreign market. If for example a merchant finds that, with the cost of his article plus the freight charged, he is, for a few pence per article unable to compete with foreign merchants, then, by application to the conference of that particular trade, he may, on proving that by a reduction of freight rates he can be assured of obtaining a ready sale, secure a suitable reduction in rate, provided he can assure the conference of his ability to ship an assured quantity. In addition to the foregoing, where a line is being run under conference agreement, the shipper is able to quote rates for forward shipments, knowing the cost of trans- portation, and has no fear that he will suffer loss in this connection. The shipping companies also provide co-ordination with the shippers by the provision of additional departments for the purpose of forwarding and insurance, thus not only supplementing their own profit by increased business, but also giving to the shipper the advantage that if he so desires he may cany out the whole of his forwarding busi- ness through one organization. The shipper knows that here is a qualified and well organized staff ready at his bidding to arrange the shipment of his goods, see to the whole of the forwarding, insure the goods under the best cover at the most reasonable rate, and carry out any other duties he may desire.